South African Premiership side Orlando Pirates have reportedly entered the race to sign Dynamos star striker Christian Ntouba and have allegedly set plans to hijack his intended move to fellow league side Bidvest Wits University.
By Sports Reporter
The Cameroonian, who took the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League by storm in the just-ended campaign, is expected at Bidvest today for an assessment before his anticipated transfer to the club in the coming few days.
But reports suggest that the Soweto giants, who are desperate for a prolific striker, have also been alerted by the availability in the market of the highly-rated Ntouba, and are ready to swoop in.
A source yesterday claimed that Pirates were some of the teams seeking to snap up the striker.
“They are following the developments closely and would jump at the slightest opportunity to get him. They might even try to invite him while in South Africa and have a look at him,” the source said.
Ntouba’s manager Gilbert Sengwe told NewsDaySport yesterday that the striker was expected in South Africa today from Cameroon, where he had gone for the Christmas holidays.
He said he had not received any offer from Pirates.
“I spoke to him around 10:30am today (yesterday) and was going to the airport for a 12:30pm flight to Johannesburg. He is arriving tomorrow night (today). Everything is in order, he will be assessed at Bidvest and if they are impressed I will, together with Dynamos officials, go to South Africa to continue with the negotiations,” Sengwe said.
“There are a lot of teams who are interested in him, but at the moment it’s Bidvest who have invited him, so we will see how it goes there. I have heard about the rumours that Pirates are also interested, but we haven’t received any communication from them. The only other teams (besides Bidvest) who contacted us officially are Polokwane City and Ajax Cape Town who wanted to sign him on, but the deals could not go through because we could not agree on certain issues.”
Orlando Pirates had not responded to an email sent to them for a comment by the time of going to print last night.
While it appears Bidvest are leading the race for Ntouba’s signature, other reports suggest that two European clubs, one from Belgium and the other from Germany are also monitoring the situation with a keen eye, developments that would excite Dynamos, who would take advantage of the frenzied interest to bargain for the highest figure.
Ajax Cape Town were the first to show interest during the summer transfer window and sent out scouts who managed to convince the player, but could not agree on a figure with Dynamos.
The Harare giants have put a $200 000 (R2,7 million) price tag on Ntouba’s head and Polokwane had, according to Dynamos chairman Keni Mubaiwa, agreed to pay, but then failed to agree personal terms with Ntouba, and the deal failed to materialise.
Ntouba netted 12 goals for the Glamour Boys, who were pipped by champions FC Platinum by just two points.
He joined Dynamos at the start of the season as part of coach Lloyd Mutasa’s rebuilding exercise and made his debut in April, where he lit the campaign with some spectacular goals and impressive performances that saw him being voted as one of the Premiership’s 11 best players of the season.
By July, Ajax Cape Town had already started knocking on the DeMbare door for the striker, but could not agree on a deal after the South African club’s representatives attempted to arm-twist DeMbare to cancel his contract without any payment being made.